Funeral Kings

I really just want to know one thing: where’d they get that kid? Funeral Kings has a lot going for it, including a funny script, an expertly calibrated rhythm, and a whole slew of charming, believable performances from child actors who appear to actually be roughly the same age as the characters they play. But if the film takes off and launches writer-directors Kevin and Matthew McManus to a long and storied career, they’ll owe several fruit baskets to their ridiculously charismatic star Alex Maizus, who has no other IMDb credits but who, if this charming coming-of-ager has any life after SXSW at all, will soon have plenty. Blessed with pitch-perfect comic timing, a refined and hilarious facility with the McManuses’ profane screenplay, and the sort of easy, confident screen presence money and acting classes can’t buy, he elevates what might have been a solid but fairly ordinary festival flick into something to seek out.

The movie itself puts on a brash exterior, giving its 14 year-old protagonists absurdly vulgar dialogue (that’s nonetheless clever enough that it doesn’t devolve into trying to use cussing kids to get cheap laughs), and setting their exploits to a propulsive hip-hop soundtrack.  But it’s surprisingly low-key in content, stirring up some intrigue with a mysterious suitcase and some local drug dealers without really building to much more than a series of energetic vignettes. The plot’s head-fakes are a little bit frustrating, but Funeral Kings compensates with moment-to-moment cleverness and a slew of wonderfully specific little details; it’s one of the most purely entertaining films of the festival.

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log

Snitch

Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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